A Huge hello to all my friends and supporters of the Running Raw Project.
In This Issue:
• The Top Ten of 2010
• Finding Heaven in Eleven
• The Blog is Back!
• The Race Report
• Fundraising Sale!
• The Training Log
• Upcoming Events
• Your Support
• In Conclusion
The Top Ten of 2010
The year 2010 can summed up in a single sentence – “As you sow, so shall you reap.” After five years of what seemed at times to be an exercise in futility, I actually have some results that I’m proud to share. The pride I feel is not based in my own egotistical needs for validation, but in the knowing that there is now rock solid evidence that one can reach the peak of athletic performance on a diet of simple fruits and vegetables. What touches me even more is the recognition this project has received from the leaders of the American running community in naming me the USA Masters Mountain Runner of the Year for 2010. What was once considered a freaky annoyance on the fringes of the running world has now been embraced as a viable option. Change your diet. Change your life. Change the planet.
Here are some 2010 highlights:
1: Named the USA Masters Mountain Runner of the Year
2: 2010 Stair Climbing World Cup Standings – 7th place
3: Won the US Bank Tower Stair Climb in Los Angeles – For the third time
4: Won the USA Masters 10k Trail Running Championships
5: Won the XTERRA Masters Trail Running National Championships
6: Won the USA Masters 15k Trail Running Championships
7: New Masters Course Record and 3rd Overall – Mt. Ashland Hill Climb
8: Passed one million views on YouTube
9: Named the WMAC/Dion 2010 Snowshoer of the Year
10: Celebrated the 5th Anniversary of Running Raw
Finding Heaven in Eleven
How do I top a year like 2010? Simple – I don’t try to. Throughout my life I have learned the hard way that putting pressure on yourself or having big expectations is a sure fire way to crash and burn. Our brains and bodies are not designed for that amount of constant stress.
I had big dreams of being an Olympian in high school and early college. Actually, I had dreams of standing on the podium and receiving my medal. Never once did the countless hours of training enter into these fairy tale images. Training thoughts were reserved for my nightmares. At that time, my experience with training was like trying to hold a fully inflated beach ball under the water. You fight like hell to keep it down, but it effortlessly gets the best of you and pops back up. Most people choose to interact with such a ball above the water’s surface, where it is light, soft and the object of fun. While it is important to have fun and play in life, games played on the surface, seldom lead to anything great. The key is to regularly explore the depths.
Not much has changed for me in the last twenty five years. I’m still trying to keep the ball under water. But instead of focusing on the results this task achieves in the outside world, I’ve learned to look at how this process affects me. One needs to dream of the process not the product, the practice, not the podium. Life is a process. It’s not someplace that you get to. It’s not something that you eventually accomplish. It’s about getting up every day and holding that ball under the water for just a few more seconds than you did the day before. But more importantly, it’s about not getting derailed when the ball pops up… Because it WILL pop up.
So as I close out the first month of 2011, I am finally beginning to dream about the process. There will be no comparisons to the results of the past or dreams of a possible future. There will simply be this moment, fully lived, and acted upon with great determination.
The Blog is Back!
After five months of dealing with a hacker/virus that shut down the Running Raw Blog, I’ve rebuilt it from scratch and it’s better than ever. All of the original entries have been re-entered and many new entries have been added. Since it’s unveiling in mid December, I’ve had nearly 20,000 reads.
A new blog with a new focus – Rather than just blabbering on about races and such I’ll be adding lots of great entries on diet, health and vegan nutrition. I’m hoping that the blog will take over as the FAQ page and will answer any questions that people might have.
Check it out – and make sure to leave comments (as all the old comments were lost)
The Race Report
• Empire State Building Run Up
It’s that time of year again. The best athletes from around the world have been selected to fight for the title of the World’s best stairclimber at the 34th running of the Empire State Building Run Up – Tomorrow February 1st at 10:30am. My training for this race has never been better, but my lack of sleep for the past two months may throw a wrench in the works. Regardless, I’ll give it my all.
Someone at Runner’s World got the crazy idea that I’m a top contender and possible threat to 5 time winner Thomas Dold from Germany.
• U.S. Bank Tower Stair Climb
One would think that a huge base of aerobic endurance wouldn’t translate into speed and power for an event such as a stair climb, but my performance at the U.S. Bank Tower stair climb would prove otherwise. With massive amounts of miles under my belt, and no strength or stair specific training, I climbed to my 3rd consecutive win at this event. My time of 9:43, was only 11 seconds off of the course record which I set in 2008.
• XTERRA Trail Running National Championships
On a beautiful 13.99 mile course along the Deschutes River in Bend, OR, I won my 3rd national title of 2010. A stacked field of athletes from around the country came to try and topple Max King’s streak of victories in this event. For the first eight miles of this race, nine of us ran together, changing the lead frequently. Max finally made his move at mile 10 to claim his 3rd straight national title in this event. I made my move at mile 12 and fought hard to the finish line with 3 other runners who had the same idea. An all out sprint to the line found me crossing in 8th place, 2 seconds behind 7th, 3 seconds behind 6th and 18 seconds behind 5th. The nearest masters runner was more than two and a half minutes behind me, earning me my third masters national trail running title. The adrenaline of the race had masked the pain in my right knee. By the time I tried to do a warm down, I could barely bend it. My streak of three months at high mileage with no injuries had ended.
• USA Trail Marathon Championships
Running a marathon has never been on my top list of things to do. In my view, they are hard on the mind and the body. My views suddenly changed when I discovered that I was in the running to win the USA Trail Running Series Championships – IF I had a solid race at the USA Trail Marathon Championships. My training had decreased significantly in the month leading up to the race. A knee injury sustained at the XTERRA Championships, and an achilles injury from attempting to gain at least 2,000 feet of elevation on every run, had put me in questionable shape to run my first marathon. With lots of taping, strapping and icing I decided to make the trip out to Ashland, OR. The race was stacked with great talent, including some very impressive masters runners. The course climbed 3,900 feet in the first 10 miles on dirt fire roads, then rolled up and down for the next 10 miles before finally dropping several thousand feet on single track trails for the last 6.2 miles. I was looking forward to the rolling and downhill sections, but the first 10 miles worried me. I wasn’t sure that my achilles could sustain that much constant elevation gain. I started at a comfortable pace and felt really good. I worked my way into 3rd place by the 3rd mile, behind Max King and Mario Mendoza. During the 4th mile, Greg McMillan (2009 USA Masters Marathon trail champion) made a move and 2 others went with him. I kept my pace, thinking that I’d make back the time on the later sections of the race. At the summit, I was feeling good and running in 7th place. The rolling section put some fire back into my legs and I opened it up. By the 14th mile I was running in 6th and quickly closing the gap on 4th and 5th. My goal time of 2:53 was within easy reach. That’s when my achilles tendon decided to blow. In one moment I went from visions of a 4th place finish in my first marathon (and national championship marathon for that matter) and top masters honors, to limping along the trail wondering how I was going to make it the next 12 miles to the finish line. I was crushed… and concerned. The course made a loop deep into the Siskoyou National Forest. The only way back to civilization was to make it to the finish line. So I walked backwards, limped and jogged for the next 10 miles as I watched runners pass me by. When the descent began, I noticed that it didn’t hurt to run downhill. So I did. After 10k of screaming, winding, downhill single track I found myself finally at the finish line. To my disbelief I managed to finish in 13th place. I don’t think you’ll find me doing anymore marathons after that experience.
• WMAC/Dion Snowshoe Series
The 2011 snowshoe racing season is underway and bigger than ever. Of the six races that I’ve done so far, I’ve scored two 1sts, and four 2nd place finishes. The deep snow has made many of these races a real challenge and a lot of fun. Snowshoe racing is unique in that the conditions suit different athletes at each race. This allows for a lot of variability and race strategy.
At the Hoot, Toot and Whistle race held two weekends ago, the deep, untracked snow made for some very interesting results. I broke trail in the untracked deep snow for the first mile before stepping aside exhausted to let CMS teammate Tim Mahoney do some of the work. New York high school running phenom Connor Devine caught up to us halfway through and we sent him to the front to break trail. The three of us switched off every four minutes with the front runner moving to the back of the train and number two moving into the front. Running in the third position was easy, compared to what the leader had to endure in the untracked snow. When we hit the 2.5 mile point, Ken Clark caught up to us. We asked him to take the lead for a bit, so we stepped aside and let him by. The race director told us before the race that the course was about 3.5 miles long, so we were thinking there would be a mile of switching left to go before the finish. I asked the guys how they had wanted to finish, considering that we had all done a good chunk of the work (I was thinking that we could cross together holding hands for a tie), when suddenly we came to VT route 100 and a flagger standing in the road. I yelled “is this the finish???” He said “No, it’s up ahead”. Ken Clark sprinted. I looked at my GPS and it read 2.6 miles. I charged after Ken, with Tim and Connor on my heels. An animalistic instinct took over when I saw Ken take off and I suddenly forgot about finishing together. He was going to try and get the win after all the work myself, Tim and Connor had done. With 100 feet to go the trail had been somewhat packed by the finish crew and some spectators. I stepped into the deep fluff to try and get around Ken, but the snow swallowed me up and sent me down onto my face. I scrambled back to my feet, jumped into the track and finished in 2nd. That’s snowshoe racing.
• Results for all of the above races can be seen at http://runningraw.com/results.html
Running Raw on Sale!
I’m clearing out my remaining stock of these three popular lecture DVDs to raise money to have Running Raw technical shirts made. The original price was $10 each, but if you act now you can purchase them for only $6.99 each. These DVDs won’t last long at this price. When they’re gone, they’re gone.
• Diet & Stress $6.99
• Perception & Genetics $6.99
• Raw Myths & Misconceptions $6.99
• A different version of Diet & Peak Performance filmed in Manchester, NH in March of 2010 $6.99
The last of the Running Raw T-shirts Sale!
• Only Men’s Mediums remain (fits like a men’s small) – $11.99 – Save 20% – This is the least you are EVER going to pay for a 100% organic cotton shirt made it America with eco friendly dyes and water-based inks! Order Here
The Training Log:
The high mileage weeks of the Summer and Fall ended abruptly in early November when I sustained an achilles injury at the US Marathon Trail Championships. After six weeks of down time and soul searching I decided to revisit the concept of cross training to aid in my return. When I was living in Los Angeles, I would run, hike, rollerblade and bike as part of my training regimen, but this ended when I moved to Vermont in 2007. A lack of good roads makes rollerblading and biking dangerous endeavors. Fortunately, Winter came early. When the deep white fluff covers the ground a whole new world of training possibilities arise. In addition to my gradual increase in running mileage (high 50’s per week at this writing), I’ve added cross country skiing, snowshoeing, deep snow ‘running’, upright rowing machine and a reintroduction of the dreaded Tabata leg press. Even though my mileage has been reduced significantly, the hours that I’m training are greater than ever. When it comes to aerobic conditioning, cross country skiing and snowshoeing can’t be beat. These activities build a huge aerobic base while removing impact from the equation. The upright rower and Tabata leg press have greatly improved my leg strength, power and injury resistance. When you add it all together, you get a base building regimen that can’t be beat. I’m hoping for an even more spectacular year in 2011.
Weekly and daily training details are now available in the Running Raw Blog.
Weekly, monthly and yearly training totals can be found on the training page:
• February 1st – Empire State Building Run Up – New York, NY
• March 11th – 13th – US Snowshoe Championships – Cable, WI
Paying it Back and Forward:
Please support my sponsors Larabar, Dion Snowshoes, Garmin, and West Coast Labels.
Your donations help more than you can imagine. Even very small contributions help to pay for event registrations, travel, etc.! Thank you in advance for your support. Your generosity allows me to do what I do and hopefully touch lives in the process. You can make your donation through http://paypal.com to the address firstname.lastname@example.org. No amount is too little, and every dollar is greatly appreciated.
If you’re excited about Running Raw and would like to be a part of the team, please get in touch. I’m always looking for new contributors, technical help, sponsorship and enthusiastic athletes to help make this project all it can be.
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Thank you for your continued support.
With Love and gratitude